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Remembrance Tree Celebration
For two millennia, the Church has applied the teachings of Christ that "…whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me…" (Mt. 25:40) to our sacred Corporal Work of Mercy, the Burial of the Dead.
The Church is so dedicated to this ministry that many dioceses throughout the United States and the world own their own cemeteries. In a few unique areas such as Catholic Funeral & Cemetery Services of the Diocese of Oakland, a diocese may also operate Catholic mortuaries. At these church-owned facilities, our Catholic sisters and brothers and their loved ones are cared for with compassion and dignity, following the rich traditions of our faith, regardless of their financial means, focused on service instead of profits.
We believe that the burial of the dead is just the beginning of a long-term relationship between the deceased's family and our cemetery family. In an effort to meet the needs of our diverse community of visiting families, we hold annual events throughout the year that bring together people of every background, social status and ethnicity, who otherwise have nothing in common except that their loved ones have been laid to rest in the same sacred grounds.
The Annual Remembrance Tree Celebration is a smaller, more intimate event focused on those who have lost a loved one within the past year. One never completely overcomes the loss of a loved one; but during that first year every day is a new challenge.
The Remembrance Tree Celebration is a prayer ceremony not only honoring our dearly departed, but also giving those with the wounds of a recent loss the ability to share with others in a similar situation and place a memorial of their loved one on a Christmas tree. It is held during the season of Advent to hopefully help restore the light and joyfulness the season can bring in anticipation of the celebration of the birth of our Lord. In addition to a prayer service, the celebration includes refreshments and seasonal music to help lift everyone's spirit.
Remembrance Tree Celebrations take place throughout the Diocese of Oakland. If you have lost a loved one in the past year, and would like information on a celebration near you, call CFCS at 855-481-4081.
(Rick Davis is general manager at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery/Holy Angels Funeral & Cremation Center, Hayward.)
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